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Energy unions plan further action over transition law

The CGT-FNME and FO-FNEM energy federations are planning strikes and other action on 29 January in protest at the law on energy transition. This follows an initial day of action on 4 November. The unions argue that while the law appears to have good intentions in relation to green energy, it conceals further steps towards liberalising the sector with the threat to jobs and pay and conditions that this would involve. Read more at > CGT-FNME (FR) And on the 4 November action at > CGT-FNME (...)

Pay rise and job security in energy company

The ver.di services union has negotiated a new deal with the RWE energy company covering its 25000 workers. Along with a job security agreement that runs to the end of 2018, workers will get a €1200 lump sum to cover the period between 1 January and 30 June 2015. On 1 July 2015 there will be a 2.3% increase to pay rates and this agreement will run to 31 December 2016. Apprentices will also see a comparable increase in pay while their lump sum will be €400. Ver.di sees this as a good deal in (...)

Electricity sector bargaining starts

Unions and employers in the private electricity sector have had a first exchange with the second round of negotiations due in early January. While the employers have highlighted the continuing difficult economic situation the unions have focused on high dividends paid to shareholders and the high levels of productivity and performance delivered by the workforce. The unions are looking for a real pay increase plus increases to other payments and allowances. They are also calling for renewal (...)

Energy unions signs sector agreement

The SSESM energy union has signed a new collective agreement with the energy employer’s association. The sector agreement will apply international labour standards, harmonise employment conditions across the sector and establish a framework of rights for the employees. This is with a view to maintain fair competition between employers at a time when there is an urgent need to provide job security, promote social rights and a healthy working environment. The employers expressed their (...)

Union federations sign well-being agreement

EPSU and the industriAll trade union federation have signed a agreement on well-being at work with the French multinational utility GDF-Suez. The agreement aims to improve quality of life at work, looking at various aspects of the content of work and working conditions, opportunities for professional development, organisational changes and work-life balance. It also highlights the special responsibility of managers (from directors to managerial employees) regarding the issues of quality of (...)

Higher minimum wage in waste sector

The sector minimum wage in the waste industry rises from €8.68 to €8.86 from 1 October. The rise comes after negotiations between ver.di and the local government (VKA) and private waste employers (BDE). The labour ministry then declares the rate generally binding for the sector. Ver.di estimates that around 20000 workers benefit from the minimum wage which it sees as crucial in sector that is highly vulnerable to social dumping. Read more at > ver.di (...)

Waste workers agree return to work

After a strike and 14-week lock-out, workers at the Greyhound waste company have agreed to return to work. The company provides waste collection for Dublin City Council and the dispute began when it attempted to implement a 35% cut in pay. The agreement to return to work includes a redundancy package for some, protected pay and conditions for others and a combination of pay cuts and a compensatory lump sum for others. Read more at > (...)

Strike avoided as energy sector dispute resolved

Strike action in the energy sector has been avoided following arbitration to resolve a dispute over pay and pensions. The new agreement sees pay generally rise by NOK 2195 (€270) with a 3.3% increase on the minimum wage in the sector. The main issue in the dispute was pensions and the question as to whether local arrangements could be agreed on pensions. The agreement involves setting up a committee to look into how this will be incorporated into the sector agreement. Read more at > (...)

March shows continuing support for waste workers

Workers employed by the Greyhound waste company have been locked out for three months following their protests over an attempt to cut pay by up to 35%. They are continuing their protests and were supported other trade unions in a march through Dublin city centre on 2 September. Read more at > SIPTU

Urgent call for action after death in waste sector

The Fp-Cgil public service federation has sent its condolences to the family of Carlo Silva, the most recent victim of a fatal accident in the waste sector. The union has called on the industry and government to take urgent action to tackle the safety crisis which it believes as a result of a combination of inadequate investment, cutbacks in spending, reductions in the workforce, increased workloads and an inadequate health and safety culture. Read more at > Fp-Cgil (...)

Unions sign new agreement at energy company

Around 6,700 workers employed by the EDP are now covered by a new collective agreement which covers a range of issues such as ensuring the financial sustainability of social provisions to employees and retired workers, career development, work organisation and health and safety. For the main union, SINDEL, some of the key provisions include: extending the 38-hour work week to all workers; keeping compensatory rest for overtime; payment for night work continues with the addition of 25%; and (...)

Energy workers’ strike victory and ballot for action

While union members at EDF Energy celebrate securing an improved pay deal after taking strike action, Scottish Power workers are being balloted over action to defend their employment conditions. Workers at EDF will get a larger lump sum, an additional amount for workers in the South East to compensate for pay differentials and further improvements for revenue protection staff. Around 1000 Scottish Power Energy Network employees are being balloted for industrial action short of a strike in (...)

Waste workers locked out by employer

Workers employed by the Greyhound waste and recycling company have been locked out by management for over two months. The company is attempting to force workers to accept wage cuts of up to 35% and has employed strikebreakers to carry out waste collections during the dispute. SIPTU has 80 members in the company which has a contract to collect household waste for Dublin City Council. Solidarity is being provided by trade unions and messages of support have been sent by EPSU and EPSU (...)

New agreement in waste sector

The FNV Abvakabo and CNV Publieke Zaak unions have agreed in principle a new collective agreement with the WENb employers in the waste sector. If backed by members the agreement will run from 1 September 2014 until 31 December 2015 and will include a 2% pay increase for the 5600 workers covered. There will be a 1.25% on 1 September, followed by a 0.75% increase in June 2015. The unions have also secured a change from a performance-related bonus to a year-end bonus that they aim to convert (...)

Minimum wage for all and more in waste

Services union ver.di has welcomed the Federal parliament’s vote to implement a national minimum wage which will be introduced at €8.50 an hour from 1 January 2015. The union sees this as an important step in ending poverty wages. However, it is very concerned about the exceptions allowed and estimates that over two million workers may be prevented from getting the full rate. These include the long-term unemployed for the first six months after getting a job and newspaper delivery workers to (...)

Action at EDF over pay and implementing agreement

Around 500 members of the Unite trade union working for EDF Energy in the London, South Eastern, South West and Eastern regions took strike action on 16 June. The dispute concerns both the below-inflation pay increase offered by the employers and the failure of EDF to implement a collective agreement. The union had already taken two days of strike action in May and industrial action short of a strike was planned following the 24-hour stoppage on 16 June. Read more at > EPSU And at > (...)

GDF-Suez challenged over sub-contracting

European trade union federations, EPSU and industriAll - joined with national unions in the GDF-Suez energy multinational to raise serious concerns about the impact of sub-contracting by many of the group’s subsidiary companies, particularly on health and safety. The unions argue that the resurgence of fatal accidents in subcontracting operations requires urgent action and that employee representatives, together with employees and their unions demand that subcontracted employees have working (...)

Unions take joint action Veolia

The four trade unions - CFDT, CGT, CFE-CGC et FO - have taken joint action in protest at major restructuring plans put forward by the Veolia energy and water multinational. The unions highlight the fact that the company has seen profits increase and has maintained its dividends to shareholders while planning job cuts and relocations that could effect over 2000 employees. Read joint union statement at > CGT (FR) And EPSU message of support at > EPSU (...)

EPSU supports energy unions

Letter to Minister of Economy EPSU has written to the Minister of the Economy to complain about the government’s interference in social dialogue and collective bargaining at the HEP electricity company HEP. The letter points out that the intervention has made it difficult for the unions and management of the company to reach agreement on a collective agreement for the first time in 18 years. EPSU also calls on the government to promote the social dialogue and collective bargaining as was (...)

Major mobilisation by waste, water and cleaning workers

Thousands of public and private sector waste, water and cleaning workers took part in industrial action and demonstrations on 12 May. The action was called by the public service and transport federations of the CGT confederation and one of the main objectives was to highlight the arduous nature of the work in the sector. The union is arguing for higher pay, reduced working time and options for early retirement in recognition that on average workers in the sector have a life expectancy five (...)

Waste workers strike over pay, hours and retirement

Waste workers organised by the CGT trade union in both the public and private sectors will be taking strike action on 12 May. The union is campaigning for a recognition of the arduous nature of the work, noting that waste workers have one of the lowest life expectancies of any group of workers. The demands include the right to early retirement, a shorter working week and a monthly salary of €1700, equivalent to the CGT’s demands for the statutory minimum wage. Read more at > CGT (...)

Water industry contractors fail to comply with agreement

The SIPTU general and public services union has challenged Irish Water to tackle its contractors and sub-contractors who are working on water meter installation because of their failure to abide by the relevant sector collective agreement. SIPTU organisers have made contact with many water meter installation workers and found many examples where employers are not providing the appropriate pay, pensions and other conditions. It is also concerned about the anti-union hostility that is making (...)

Long-term deal at National Grid

Public services union UNISON reports that the National Grid energy company has agreed a new four-year collective agreement. There is a 3.3% pay increase backdated to July 2013 and then a further four years of pay increasing by the rate of inflation. There are also changes to the pay structure and improvements to pension arrangements. The company will also strengthen its commitment to directly-employed labour. UNISON sees this as a significant improvement on the company’s original offer and (...)

Energy sector: 4.5% increase and jobs for trainees

The 25000 workers covered by the energy agreement that includes the EON energy company are to get a 4.5% pay increase in two stages - 2.4% in February 2014 and 2.1% in February 2015. The agreement runs until 31 January 2016. The deal also includes a commitment to provide permanent jobs for at least 120 qualified trainees in 2015 and maybe up to 150 in total while all other qualified trainees will be offered a minimum one-year contract. Read more at > ver.di (...)

High collective bargaining coverage in electricity sector

The EIRO industrial relations observatory has published a study on the representativeness of the social partners in the electricity industry. This is part of the formal process required by the European Commission and confirms that the two European Trade Union Federations - EPSU and industrAll - are the two most representative trade unions at European level. The study found that: "Collective bargaining coverage is relatively high in the electricity sector. Some 18 of the 22 countries with (...)

Unions want improved offer from employers

The GPA-djp and PRO-GE trade unions are currently consulting among their works council members in the electricity sector over how to respond to the employers’ inadequate offer in the latest bargaining round. On the table is a pay increase of 2.4% for those earning up to €3500 a month, tapering down to 2% for the highest earners. The unions argue that the offer is inadequate both in relation to workers’ productivity and in comparison to what company directors have been getting. Read more at > (...)

Energy unions launch petition on pay, jobs and promotion

GDF-SUEZ petition The five trade unions that organise in the GDF-SUEZ energy company - CGT, FO, CFDT, CFE-CGC and CFTC - have launched a petition over the company’s imposition of a below-inflation pay increase (0.3%) and its decision to reduce the proportion of staff promoted to higher grades. The unions want to re-open negotiations on these two points as well as get a commitment from the company that it won’t undertake any plans involving job cuts or any initiatives that undermine the IEG (...)

Union mobilises to defend trade union rights and collective agreement

CGT FNME SNET The CGT-FNME energy federation is mobilising members on 6 February in response to the actions of management at the SNET company, owned by the German EON group. The union is reacting to attacks on its trade union representation rights including dismissal of leading union members, the failure of the company to stick by a job guarantee agreement negotiated last year and to take part in social dialogue and the company’s continuing to push for sub-contracting of services. Read (...)

Pensions dispute at energy company resolved

Unions at the ESB electricity company called off planned strike action before Christmas after negotiations secured an agreement over treatment of the pension scheme. The unions were pleased that the company will continue to treat the pension scheme as defined benefit rather than defined contribution and also that there will be a commitment to tackle any future pension deficits in the same way as they have been dealt with in the past. Read more at > RTE news website (...)

Waste workers’ strike protects jobs and pay

After nearly two weeks of strike action waste, cleaning and gardening workers in Madrid have won an important victory to save jobs and protect pay. Employers threatened to cut over 1000 jobs and cut pay by 40% but as a result of the strike the job and pay cuts have been averted. The unions have made some concessions in the form of temporary layoff arrangements and a three-year pay freeze but a much better outcome than the massive cuts demanded by employers before the industrial action. (...)

Energy firm undermines collective agreement

EPSU letter re Hidroelectrica EPSU has written to the Prime Minister and energy minister calling for urgent action to deal with serious problems at the Hidroelectrica and Hidroserves energy companies. The problems began with the insolvency of Hidroelectrica and actions taken by the administrator. Cutbacks to maintenance services have created serious safety risks. Around 1500 jobs have already been cut, a further 1000 are under threat and collective agreements are being undermined. The (...)

Central agreement negotiated

The three trade union confederations SAK, STTK and Akava reached a central agreement on wages and salaries with the employers’ organisations at the end of August. The agreement includes two increases in pay with a flat rate rise of €20 beginning four months after the agreement is valid and a 0.4% increase a year later. The agreement runs for two years with an option to extend it for a third year. This will be decided in June 2015, after the parliamentary elections in April 2015 and the (...)

Strike threat delivers improved pay offer

Refuse workers in south London, members of the Unite trade union, called off three days of planned strike action when the multinational Veolia agreed an improved pay deal. The settlement is 2.25% this year, backdated to November in Bromley and January in Croydon. A total of 2.25% will be paid for 2014. In addition, there will be an increase in paid sick leave and an additional day’s annual leave. Read more at > (...)

Global agreement at energy company

PSI the global public services federation and the IndustriAll manufacturing federation have signed a Global Framework Agreement with the Italian energy company ENEL. The company is active in Italy, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain and several Latin American countries. The new GFA defines a set of guidelines aimed to establish global level social dialogue, which is regarded as the pre-eminent approach in dealing with issues affecting the interests of the business and employees. Among other (...)

Workers reject pay offer in waste and environment

A ballot of employees in the waste and environment sector has produced a rejection of the proposed agreement in line with the recommendation from the FNV Abvakabo trade union. The main reason for the rejection was the offer of a 1.5% pay increase over 15 months. With inflation already at 2.7% the union argued that the deal would mean a 1.5% fall in purchasing power for its members. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (...)

Busworkers win improvements in pay and conditions

Members of the Kommunal municipal union working on the buses have secured a number of improvements to pay and conditions after taking industrial action. They will get a pay increase of SEK 1732 (€195) over three years to bring them in line with similar jobs in other sectors. They have also achieved more control over their working time and shifts. There will also be greater monitoring of what happens when a new company wins a contract and employees are transferred from their current employer. (...)

Unions sign landmark deal to build power station

The GMB and Unite general unions and UCATT construction union have signed significant new agreements with the EDF energy firm covering the construction of a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset in the South West of England. One agreement covers how industrial relations will be managed during the project and the other establishes pay rates along with a range of other conditions including bonuses. The deal with EDF also includes provisions for taking on trainees. Read more at > (...)

Protest planned over further austerity

Unions in the CGTP confederation are organising a national demonstration on 25 May in protest at the latest austerity measures being imposed by the government under pressure from the the troika of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. Included in the measures are 30000 public sector job cuts, an increase in weekly hour for public sector workers from 35 to 40 without any increase in pay and an increase in retirement age to 66. Read more at > STAL (...)

Unions campaign against public sector pay cut

Public sector unions are consulting their members over organising a major day of action to protest at pay cuts and attacks on collective bargaining. The unions began their anti-government campaigning at this year’s May Day rally and are planning an action that would effectively blocked key services to demonstrate the importance and value of public services to citizens and the economy. Read more at news website > Dalje (EN) And further at > Dalje (...)

Water workers defer strike over bargaining rights

Members of the SIPTU general trade union at the Shanganagh Waste Water Treatment Plant have deferred their planned strike action on 6 May pending talks at the Labour Relations Commission. The conflict is over the employer’s refusal to recognise their union for collective bargaining. The plant is owned by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on the outskirts of Dublin but is run by SDD Shanganagh Water Treatment Ltd. The company has agreed to reinstate a SIPTU member sacked for trade union (...)

Day of action in waste sector

The CGT Services Publics federation has called for a national strike and day of action on 6 May for its members involved in the waste collection and management sector. The union is concerned about deteriorating working conditions and the health and safety risks faced by its members. It argues that services are under pressure because of reduced funding for local authorities and pressure to privatise waste collection services. Read more at > CGT (...)

Union acts to defend collective agreements from privatisation threat

The STAL union organised a demonstration on 5 April against plans to privatise the AdP water company. The union wants to prevent privatisation but is also concerned to protect existing collective agreements and protect workers against any restructuring that might take place in the lead up to any sell-off. Read more at > EPSU (EN)

Unions challenge Veolia redundancy plan

Unions at the Veolia Eau water company are opposed to proposals from the company for a plan to cut 1500 jobs on the basis of voluntary redundancies or redeployments. They are also unhappy about company plans to change working time arrangements and cut holiday entitlement. The unions argue that the cuts will have an impact on services and workloads and are simply a way of boosting productivity to keep shareholders happy. Read more at > Humanite news website (FR) And at > CGT (...)

Electricity union signs new three-year deal

On March 18 the All Russian Electrounion signed a new sector agreement for the period 2013-2015. This comes at the end of a lengthy campaign with the union determined to secure an increase in minimum rates after three years without a pay rise. The minimum monthly wage rate of first-grade workers in electrical power organizations should reach 9000 Rubles by 2015. Both EPSU and PSI sent messages of support during the union’s campaign. Read more at > (...)

Energy unions plan action on pay on 28 March

The four union federations in the energy sector (CGT, FO, CFDT and CGC) have called for a day of action on 28 March including work stoppages. This is part of a campaign to secure improved pay for workers in the sector where employers have unilaterally decided on a 0.8% increase in basic pay for 2013 when inflation is expected to reach 1.8%. The unions point out that this comes at a time when both the main employers in the sector - EDF and GDF - have seen profits grow by 16.9% and 11% (...)

Union takes strike action at GDF-Suez

Members of the CGT employed by six gas sector subsidiaries of GDF Suez have been taking strike action since 4 February. Their main demands include a shift in company policy away from a narrow financial focus on increased dividends for shareholders and a call to reopen pay negotiations. The union also wants to see a coherent policy for the group on the basis of providing security of energy supply as well as employment. Finally, the CGT is calling for an end to restructuring, site closures, (...)

Members to vote over EON pay deal

Ver.di is recommending acceptance of a pay offer covering the 30000 employees of the EON energy company. If accepted, salaries will increase by 2.8%, backdated to 1 January 2013 and there will be a lump sum payment of €300 in March. The agreement will run for 13 months and ver.di calculates this is worth 3.1% overall. It was also agreed that apprentices qualifying during 2014 will be taken on by their employers for at least 12 months. Read more at > ver.di (...)

General strike call for 20 February

The ADEDY and GSEE public and private sector trade union confederations have called a general strike for 20 February in protest at the continuing pressure for cuts coming from the Troika of European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. Civil servants are the target of next round of cuts with the Troika wanting to see 25000 dismissed or transferred to other areas. Trade unions have also reacted angrily to the government’s actions to prevent transport workers from (...)

Chimney sweeps face competition

Members of EPSU affiliate ZDS - the chimney sweeps’ trade union - are facing up to a new competitive environment this year as some of their responsibilities are opened up to competition. Chimney sweeps in Germany have a wide range of roles including testing for energy efficiency and dangerous emissions. The changes are the result of the Services Directive. The profession is facing a shortage of skilled workers and the main employer and trade union organisations have just agreed to the (...)

Water workers try flash action over collective agreement

Hundreds of employees of water companies joined a flash action January 17 in defence of decent pay in the sector. The workers are calling for salary guarantees to continue to apply in any new collective agreement. Three quarters of employees have a certain salary guarantee, which comes from previous wage agreements with regional water companies. Around 5,000 water workers have been without a collective agreement since August and are concerned that they will lose out in a new agreement which (...)

Pay deal in energy sector

After intensive negotiations the GPA-DJP trade union has agreed a pay deal for the private sector that will provide increases on basic pay of between 2.9% and 3.2% with the higher increases for the lower paid. Inflation was 2.8% in the year to December 2012, averaging 2.4% over the whole year. It was also agreed to examine the coverage of the sector agreement in relation to companies in the sector covered by other agreements, subsidiaries of companies covered by the agreement, cooperation (...)

Two-day strike over job cuts

The FNME-CGT, FO-FNEM and CFTC unions in the energy sector have called for two days of strike action on 21-22 January to protest at plans by the SNET energy company, owned by the Germany energy multinational EON, to close coal-fired power stations and cut 535 jobs by 2015. The unions want commitments to prolong the life of some power stations and to investigate the conversion of others while also confirming investment in new biomass (...)

Pay negotiations break down at EON

Negotiations over pay at the energy company EON have broken down. In the third round of talks, the company made a revised offer to increase pay by 1.7%, up from 1.1%, but this was rejected by the two trade unions, ver.di and IGBCE. The unions had submitted a claim for an increase of 6.5% along with calls to take on apprentices after qualification and for collective agreements to apply to subsidiary companies. The unions will be consulting their members with the possibility of an all-out (...)

Day of action over pay and jobs on 31 January

Three public service trade unions - CGT, FSU and Solidaires - have called a day of action, involving strikes, on 31st January. The protest is to put pressure on the government to stop job cuts in the public sector and to agree an across-the-board pay increase for all public sector workers. The unions point out that nearly a million civil servants and public sector employees are on pay rates close to the national minimum wage. Read more at > CGT (...)

Study reveals extent of restructuring in electricity sector

The EIRO industrial relations observatory has published a new study of restructuring in the electricity sector across Europe. It found that employment has fallen considerably since the mid-1990s and restructuring and reorganisation have continued ever since. The study argues that while the business structure has undergone considerable change, industrial relations have remained relatively stable, with continuing high union density rates and collective bargaining coverage. Read more at > EIRO (...)

Meter readers on strike at E.ON

Meter readers employed by the E.ON energy multinational took a day of strike action on Monday 17 December in protest at this year’s pay offer and several years without a consolidated pay increase. They are also protesting because management have received higher increases in recent years. The workers will refuse to work overtime and will withdraw goodwill from 2 January until the dispute is resolved. Read more at > (...)

Energy union campaigns for pay increases

The All-Russia electricity workers’ union has been organising a series of pickets, protests and other actions in support of a significant pay rise to compensate for several years without any increase. The key demands are for a 25% pay increase and minimum wage in the industry of R6827 (around €170) from January 2013. Read the our solidarity message and union press release at > EPSU (EN, (...)

Private energy agreement signed for first time

The Independent Union of Energy Workers has signed the first ever collective agreement covering companies in the private sector. The union and employers agreed that the purpose of the agreement was to apply international labour standards, to equalize working conditions at sector level and to establish a framework of rights that the employees should be entitled to, which will maintain fair competition between (...)

Strike at energy company

The EL&IT energy union and Fagforbundet municipal union are taking further strike action at the NTE energy company following the failure of mediation. The unions are in dispute over minimum wage rates, travel regulations and on rules and payments applying to working outside normal working hours. Read more at > EL&IT (NO) And at > Fagforbundet (NO)

Waste sector strike avoided

The NTF transport union has agreed a deal for workers in the waste sector following mediation. The union had been planned a strike for 24 August but this was called off. There is a general wage increase for all workers of NOK 1.50 (€ 0.25) an hour while the union is particularly please that the minimum wage in the collective agreement goes up by just over 9% to NOK 150 (€20.50) an hour. Read more at > NTO (...)

New agreement for water authority workers

After lengthy negotiations the unions FNV Abvakabo, CNV Publieke Zaak and CMHF have signed a new agreement covering water authority employees. The unions see this as a modern agreement which will allow for long-term investment in the employability of workers. A key element of the two-year agreement is the individual choice budget which increases by 1% in 2012 and 2% in 2013. This allows employees to choose what element of their pay and conditions they want to increase. There are also new (...)

Public sector unions gradually build up strike action

Several trade unions in the public sector are involved in strike action that began on Thursday 24 May after attempts at mediation in pay negotiations failed. The unions involved are coordinating their action and gradually increasing the number of workers coming out on strike. At the centre of the dispute are the unions’ efforts to ensure that pay increases in the public sector are in line with those in the private sector. Read more at > news website (EN) And at > Fagforbundet (NO) And at (...)

Union challenges outsourcing in water and social care

The SIPTU general union is planning to ballot 2,500 local government workers in the water sector over industrial action in protest at plans to outsource the service. The union says the plans go against previous commitments and there has been no consultation or negotiation over the proposals or the impact on the workers concerned. Meanwhile it is also involved in a campaign against the outsourcing of home helps and the erosion of quality care. Read more on water at > SIPTU (EN) And on home (...)

Back to the bargaining table in the waste sector

Trade unions and employers are set to re-start negotiations in the waste sector which has been without a new collective agreement for over a year. Negotiations broke down earlier this year after the unions had rejected what the employers’ had said was their final offer and the reaction of the employers was then to make a lower offer. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (NL)

Energy union protests over working conditions and privatisation

On 23 May the SPEK energy trade union organised a protest in Prishtina in front of the offices of the Ministry of Economic Development which manages the KEK energy company. The union action was in protest at the way workers in the company have been treated and the privatisation of two important divisions of KEK, namely the supply and the network divisions.

National protest over sewage workers’ health and safety

The public services federation of the CGT has called a national demonstration for 29 May in defence of the health and safety of sewage workers in the public and private sectors. Official data shows that the life expectancy of sewage workers in Paris is seven years less than workers in general in the region and 17 years less than the national average. Changes to the pensions system have meant that sewage workers now have to work longer in the underground system in order to benefit from early (...)

Bus company dispute ended

The JHL public service union and Jyty private sector union have negotiated a new agreement covering the Helsingin bus company and avoided industrial action. The employers had initially refused to negotiate a deal in line with the general framework agreement but have now conceded and the planned strike on 2 May will not now go ahead. Read more at > JHL (EN)

Workers at energy contractor in dispute over pay

Worker employed by the SPIE DEN engineering company, subsdiary of SPIE Nucleaire, have been on strike since 16 April at the Cattenom and Fessenheim power plants in the Alsace-Lorraine region of North-East France. The dispute has also spread with stoppages at the Bugey and Cruas power stations in the Rhone-Alpes region. The dispute is over payments for working at different sites and the FNME-CGT union federation is calling for the same pay and conditions for all SPIE employees it is also (...)

Union signs new collective agreement at transmission company

Last month the EMS energy union was able to sign a new collective agreement with the JP EMS electricity transmission company after lengthy negotiations. There were key issues in the negotiations around redundancy provisions, payments for food and annual leave but these were finally resolved thanks in part to expressions of support from EPSU and sister unions in Slovenia and (...)

Union confederation submits pay claim to private employers

The blue collar LO confederation has put forward a pay claim to the Spekter employers’ organisation that covers workers in health, transport and other public services employed in the public sector. The claim includes real wage growth and a general increase of NOK 2438 (€323). The unions also want to see better conditions for temporary agency workers, improved pay for working unsocial hours and action to improve working conditions for older workers. Read more at > Fagforbundet (...)

Energy unions negotiate cost savings plan

Following lengthy negotiations members of the five trade unions at ESB, the main Irish energy company, have agreed a major cost savings plan. The unions managed to protect basic pay and pensions and to avoid compulsory redundancies. However, the cuts will involve some reductions to allowances while 700 jobs will go through voluntary redundancy. A further 300 jobs will go through natural attrition. Read more at > SIPTU (...)

Employers suspend negotiations in haulage/waste sector

Employers in the haulage sector (covering also the waste industry) have unexpectedly suspended negotiations over a new collective agreement without making a pay offer. The FNV Bondgenoten union had noted some progress in key areas such as equal pay for equal work and improved conditions for temporary workers. However, there are many other areas where the union is still concerned that the employers want to undermine existing conditions. Read more at > FNV Bondgenoten (...)

24-hour strike on the buses

The JHL public services union is organising a 24-hour strike of bus drivers in Helsinki on 2 May. The strike is in protest at the refusal of the PTY employers’ organisation to apply the national framework agreement. JHL wants to prevent the employers undermining drivers’ pay and conditions. Read more at > JHL (FI)

Private waste sector agreement finally signed

After difficult and lengthy negotiations and strike action, the FP-CGIL, FIT-CISL and FIADEL trade unions have signed a new collective agreement in the private waste sector for the period 2011-13. The deal will mean an overall pay increase of around 7.7% or €134. The unions were concerned to maintain the sectoral agreement in the face of legislation to liberalise the industry and pressure to decentralise bargaining. Read more at > FP-CGIL (...)

Refuse workers on strike in Lyon region

Refuse collection workers in the Grand Lyon region covering 58 local authorities have entered their third week of strike action in opposition to privatisation, to maintain existing services and for improved pay and conditions. Unions have criticised the Grand Lyon authority for adopting private sector methods in trying to beat the strike by using contract workers to collect rubbish. The unions involved are the CGT, FNAF/CFTC, FO, CFDT, FA/FPT, UNSA et UGICT/CGT. Read more at > CGT Service (...)

Four unions continue to coordinate action in waste sector

The FP-CGIL, FIT-CISL, UILT and FIADEL trade unions are coming together in another day of strike action in the waste sector on 12 March. The action is in protest at the state of the industry and the potential impact of a government decree that would leave the sector open to unregulated competition. The unions argue that the sector needs proper controls and management and a sustainable approach to waste that can be delivered by the municipalities. They say that increased competition without (...)

Difficult negotiations in the transport and waste sector

After four rounds of negotiations, the FNV Bondgenoten trade union reports little progress on the main issues in the transport sector negotiations with the employer TLN. This agreement also covers the private waste sector. The next round of negotiations will start on 11 April and the main demands include equal pay for work of equal value . This is about ensuring that all those working in the Netherlands receive the appropriate wage in line with the collective agreement and other (...)

Energy unions negotiate 4.2% increase for lower paid

Workers in the private energy sector will see their basic pay rise by 3.8%-4.2% with lower paid workers getting the higher percentage increase. The agreement covers 21,000 employees and runs for 12 months from 1 February 2012. The GPA-DJP services union thanked members and works council members for their work in support of the claim. The agreement also includes arrangements for the unions and employers to look at age-related issues around pay, shift work and arduous employment as well as (...)

Agreement over restructuring at E.ON in Germany

Ver.di and the IGBCE trade union have negotiated an agreement with the E.ON energy company over restructuring in Germany. The agreement runs until 2016 and covers issues such as early retirement, severance payments and the setting up of a company to deal with employment and training. The aim of the agreement is to avoid compulsory redundancies. The E.ON 2.0 restructuring programme will involve around 6,000 job cuts in Germany out of a worldwide total of 11,000. Read more at > ver.di (...)

Conflict at E.ON in Italy over restructuring

The Italian unions organizing workers in EON have officially informed management that there is a conflict with the company as a first step in what could escalate in full blown industrial action. No overall social plan exists for the company, nor at Italian level. The company is violating the agreements to invest and upgrade its production capacity. Concretely workers are threatened with forced dismissal in its operation in Sardinia. The unions have also informed the European Works Council. (...)

Unions meet employers over private waste agreement

After two days of strike action on 16-17 January, the four main trade unions in the private waste sector – FP-CGIL, Fit-CISL, UIL Transport and Fiadel – met the ANCI employers’ association on 26 January. The unions have been in dispute over a long delay in re-negotiating a collective agreement for the sector and are concerned about pressure to liberalise waste services. The ANCI has agreed to further talks. Read more at > FP-CGIL (...)

Workers reject pay offer in waste sector

Members of both the FNV Abvakabo and CNV Publieke Zaak trade unions have overwhelmingly rejected the pay offer from employers in the environmental and waste sector. During the negotiations the employers had proposed a 24-month deal with an overall increase of 3.5% but then came up with a last-minute offer of 2.5% over 19 months. Negotiators in both trade unions had recommended rejection of the offer. The two unions are now seeking to re-open negotiations. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (NL) (...)

Massive support for private waste sector strike

The four trade unions organising in the private waste sector (FP-CGIL, FIT CISL, UILTRASPORTI and FIADEL) have congratulated their members on the very high level s of support for the strike across the country. The unions estimate that nearly nine in 10 workers joined the action that took place on 16 and 17 January and is mainly in protest at the employers refusal to re-negotiate a sector-level agreement. Read more at > FP-CGIL (...)

Unions take action against privatisation plans

The ETUC and EPSU have expressed their support for the actions by trade unions in the North of Cyprus to block the privatisation of the energy sector. Strike action was declared on 19 January and a major demonstration is planned for 30 January. The privatisation is seen as part of the government’s austerity measures. Read more at > Cyprus Mail (EN) And at > ETUC (EN) And at > KTAMS (...)

Unions reject latest employer offer

Unions have broken off negotiations in the energy sector following unsatisfactory pay offers from the employers. The employers had wanted to follow developments in the public sector which would have involved a pay increase of 2.65% plus €11.10 a month. A revised offer from the employers was hardly any different and would have meant pay increases of between 2.9% and 3.25% at a time when inflation is at 3.3%. Read more at > GPA-DJP (DE (...)

Further strike action planned in private waste sector

The FP-CGIL public services federation along with the three other federations in the private waste sector (FIT-CISL, UIL TRASPORTI and FIADEL) are planning two further days of strike action on 16 and 17 January following the well-supported one-day strike on 29 November last year (epsucob@NEWS 20, December 2011). A central demand in the dispute is maintenance of the sector agreement, which is under threat as a result of demands to liberalise the industry. Read more at > FP-CGIL (...)

Federal and local negotiations to begin on 1st March

Public services union ver.di is preparing for negotiations over one of the main public sector agreements that will begin on 1st March. These will cover Federal and Local Government; regional government workers are covered by a separate agreement. The collective bargaining committee for Federal and Local Government will meet on 9 February to decide on the main elements of this year’s pay claim. The agreement includes publicly-owned utilities and one of the aims of the negotiations will be to (...)

Union responds to energy restructuring

The ver.di services union is facing major challenges in the energy sector as companies plan significant restructuring and job cuts. At E.ON around 11000 jobs are on the line and one element of the ver.di response is to work with the Hans Böckler research organisation and draw up alternative plans that focus on making better use of and improving the skills of the workforce particularly in business areas such as renewables in which the company could increase its investment. Meanwhile at (...)

High turnout for private waste sector strike

The FP-CGIL reports that an estimated 80% of workers supported the strike in the private waste sector, backed also by the FIT-CISL, UIL TRASPORTI and FIADEL union organisations. The strike was over concerns about safety in the sector and the need to renew the sectoral agreement as an important protection for workers in the face of liberalization. A meeting with employers on 1 December didn’t resolve the dispute and the unions are determined to maintain their position and are considering a (...)

Strike action over pay

As part of a broader campaign on pay, the FNME-CGT energy federation organised strike action on 17 November to put pressure on employers to increase basic salaries across the energy sector. Pay increases over the last few years have not kept pace with inflation. The increase in 2011 was imposed by employers after all unions failed to agree and the latest deal was not signed by the main unions in the sector. The 2012 increase on basic salaries will be 1.3%,although the overall increase will (...)

Water workers make gains after all-out strike

Members of the CGT, UNSA and FO trade unions were united in all-out strike action in the second half of October to support their claim for a €250 monthly bonus for all sewage workers in the Paris region. Management resorted to intimidation and sent letters directly to all strikers giving them an ultimatum to end the strike and withdraw pickets or face legal action and arrest. The unions decided to return to work having accepted a monthly bonus of €75 for those mainly involved in maintaining (...)

10 days of action at EON over threat to jobs

Between 27 October and 7 November workers at the EON energy company will be involved in a range of actions – demonstrations and workplace meetings – in protest at the company’s restructuring plans. As many as 11000 jobs worldwide, including 6500 in Germany, could be cut and the company is not ruling out compulsory redundancies. Ver.di is not only critical of the plans but also of the failure of the company to provide any detail of the job cuts and where they will fall. Read more at > ver.di (...)

Action planned in private waste sector over pay and safety

The four main trade unions in the private waste sector, including EPSU affiliate FP-CGIL, are planning strike action over a new agreement as well as safety issues in the industry. There will be a week of action from 6 to 13 November that will involve an overtime ban and other action while a day of strike action will be followed by two more if there is no response to the unions’ demands for measures to deal with safety and job insecurity in the sector. Safety is a major concern following (...)

Average industrial wage target for bus drivers

The Fagforbundet public sector trade union has set a target for bus drivers’ wages for next year’s negotiations. The aim will be to get bus drivers’ pay in line with the average wage in the manufacturing sector. Currently drivers are paid around NOK 25000 (€3200) less than the target. The negotiations will also look at drivers’ hours and in particular weekend work with a view to addressing issues around work-life balance. Read more at > Fagforbundet (...)

Key agreement provides 5.3% increase for lowest paid

Unions in the metal, mining, gas and heating sectors have negotiated a new collective agreement that provides an average pay increase of 4.2%. However, with a minimum guaranteed increase of €80 a month, this means that those on the lowest pay rates will get an increase of 5.3%. The agreement runs for 12 months from 1 November 2011. Read more at > GPA-DJP (DE)

Unions work together in campaign against outsourcing

The SIPTU and IMPACT public service trade unions organized a demonstration on 20 October in protest at plans by Fingal County Council, to the north of Dublin, to outsource waste collection services. The unions highlighted not only the threat to workers pay and conditions but the prospect of a poorer service and higher charges to citizens. Read more at > SIPTU (EN)

Ver.di threatens strike action at EON

The ver.di services says it may resort to strike action in response to the threat of large-scale job cuts at the EON energy company. Up to 11,000 of the company’s 79,000 global workforce could go and ver.di wants to negotiate a job security agreement that would exclude compulsory redundancies after 2012. Sven Bergelin, ver.di official and chair of EPSU’s utilities standing committee said that workers were particularly angered by EON’s plans as the company was making good profits. Read more at (...)

Federation calls for better pay and conditions for sub-contractor employees

The FNME-CGT energy federation organized a national day of action on 22 September to highlight the situation of the employees of sub-contractors in the nuclear sector. The union points out that these workers are facing some of the most serious safety risks in the sector but are missing out on the pay and employment conditions enjoyed by permanent staff. The union has delivered a 10,000-signature petition to the energy minister calling for improved pay and conditions for all sub-contracted (...)

Survey’s initial findings show wide variations in pay in the utilities

Over 3,000 workers in the energy, waste and water sectors took part in an international survey on pay and conditions earlier this year. The full survey findings will be announced at a conference in Vienna on 26-27 September. However, preliminary findings show significant variations pay across Europe, even once different standards of living are taken into account. For example, median hourly pay in the sector in Germany is €25.38, more than three times the level in neighbouring Poland at (...)

Energy giant, E.ON, plans to cut 11,000 jobs

E.ON, the biggest energy company in Germany, has announced plans for makes savings of €1.5 billion by 2015 that would involve cutting around 11,000 jobs from its total global workforce of 85,000. As many as 6,000 of these job cuts will be in Germany. The company has not ruled out compulsory redundancies. Ver.di and the E.ON works council argue that workers are being forced to shoulder an unfair share of the savings. They also point out that there is an agreement that there should be no (...)

Waste sector minimum wage to rise

The waste industry is one of several in Germany that benefit from a sectoral minimum wage. The minimum rate came into effect in January 2010 and has since risen from €8.02 an hour to €8.24 an hour. The rate will be increased again as from 1 September to €8.33 an hour and this will apply until 31 March 2012 . This is a 1.1% increase while inflation in Germany is currently running at 2.3%. Read more at > ver.di (...)

Warning strikes lead to higher pay increase

The 9,000 workers covered by the GWE (gas, water, electricity) agreement in North-Rhine Westfalia will see their pay increase by 3.3% this year. The unions won an increased offer (up from 3%) following a series of warning strikes. The agreement will also last 14 months rather than the 15 proposed by the employers. The agreement also commits the employers to maintain the level of apprenticeships and to take on apprentices for at least 12 months after they have qualified. Read more at > (...)

Strikes continue as power workers take action

The ADEDY civil service confederation continues to mobilise its members in general strike action as well as organising a demonstration as part of the European day of action on 21 June. At the same time the power workers’ union has called a 48-hour strike in protest at the austerity measures and in particular the decision to privatise the company as part of a wide-ranging plan for state sell-offs. Read more at > ADEDY (GR) And at > Financial Times (...)

Energy agreement includes 3.2% pay increase for 2011

Energy and services union ver.di has signed a new 19-month collective agreement in the energy sector that covers 30,000 employees, mainly those of the E.ON energy company. There will be a 3.2% increase on 1 June and then 1.7% on 1 June 2012. The increases also apply to apprentices. Ver.di sees the deal as reasonable and in line with other agreements in the sector. Read more at > ver.di (...)

Bargaining split in energy sector

The are now two collective agreements in the energy sector – one for production and supply companies (PLB) and the other for network companies (NWB). There are similarities between these new agreements that both run for 24 months from 1 May 2011 to 1 May 2013. Both apply a 1.5% overall pay increase in both 2011 and 2012. Both also have contributions into a so-called benefit budget which workers can apply depending on their personal preference for particular benefits such as more leave. In (...)

Energy workers take action over pay and conditions

The FNME-CGT energy union organized a day of strike action earlier this month at the RTE electricity network company, part of the EDF group. The union wants to defend pay and conditions in the face of the company’s preoccupation with profits and its minimalist view of itself as a public service provider. The management also argued that it had to respond to calls from Brussels for austerity measures to improve competitiveness as part of the Euro-Plus Pact. Read more at > FNME-CGT (...)

PAY IN ENERGY, WASTE AND WATER – SURVEY AND CONFERENCE

Hundreds of workers across Europe have already taken part in the WISUTIL survey of pay in the energy, waste and water sectors. The main deadline for responses has now been extended from 30 June to 31 JULY. A conference to discuss the findings will take place in Vienna on 26-27 September. Read more at > EPSU (20 languages) And at > EPSU (EN)

Waste company accused of excessive working time

The municipal union Fagforbundet reports that the Ragn-Sells waste company is again in the news for poor working conditions. The company was at the centre of a scandal involving the Adecco employment agency and sacked migrant workers from Poland (see epsucobanews 02 January 2011. Now the company has been investigated by the Labour Inspection service and found to be infringing working time legislation with employees working 11-14 hours a day. The inspectors also discovered that the company (...)

Industrial action in public transport in three major cities

Public transport workers will be involved in three days of industrial action on 7-9 June in Amsterdam, the Hague and Rotterdam. The action is over cuts to jobs and services and the threat of compulsory tendering of services. Unions fear that as many as 3,000 jobs could be cut across the three cities with major reductions to bus, tram and metro services. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (...)

Transport workers win concessions after industrial action

Bus and tram workers in Zürich have taken industrial action to try to secure a collective agreement and protect paid breaks. The workers, members of the VPÖD/SSP public service union, took the action in order to get a canton-wide (regional) collective agreement that would provide better for protection for workers in the face of future liberalization of the sector. Following a commitment from the employers to negotiate an agreement and improve industrial relations, the union has suspended the (...)

Negotiations on equality continue at utilities multinational GDF-Suez

EPSU continues to take part in negotiations to secure an agreement on equality at GDF-Suez. The latest round of talks focused on work-life balance, parental leave and sexual harassment. Read more at > EPSU (EN)

Over two million workers now covered by minimum wages

The trade union movement continues to campaign for a national, legal minimum wage but in the mean time the introduction of sectoral minimum rates has now spread to nine sectors. The rates range from €6.53 an hour in the security industry in the east to €12.95 in the construction industry in the west. Other rates include €8.24 in waste management and €7.50 (east) and €8.50 (west) in care services. Read more at > Hans Boeckler (...)

European federations negotiate on equality at GDF-Suez

EPSU is involved in European-level negotiations over equality with the GDF-Suez energy multinational. The aim is to secure an agreement with a specific plan of action on a range of equality measures. Negotiations are continuing and are set to consider issues such as pay equality, dealing with part-time work, improving work-life balance and maternity and other forms of leave. Read more at > EPSU (...)

Union continues to press for equal pay for equal work in GDF-Suez

The CGT trade union has sent its congratulations to Isabelle Koucher who has been promoted from head of the Lyonnaise des Eaux company to finance director at its parent company the GDF-Suez multinational. The union goes on to urge her to ensure that GDF-Suez ensures that it applies equal pay for work of equal value at its local subsidiaries. The union has been on strike for over four weeks at the Lyonnaise des Eaux regional control centre at Montgeron over equal pay issues and says that (...)

Dispute over disciplinaries resolved at SITA (GDF-Suez)

The Unite trade union has negotiated an agreement to end its dispute with the SITA waste company (part of the GDF-Suez multinational). The union had been concerned about bullying and intimidation of workers and had taken one day of three days of strike action. Part of the agreement is that the ACAS conciliation service will monitor the company’s disciplinary processes for a six-month period. Read more at > Local news website (...)

Employer uses divide and rule tactics

After a six-month break in negotiations, the GDF-Suez energy company has returned to the bargaining table with a proposal that all new starters would be on a different collective agreement. Ver.di has rejected the idea, emphasising that a company agreement covering only new starters would leave them in a very weak position and make it very difficult for the union to mobilise across the company to defend their pay and conditions. The company also wants to apply a 40-hour week on the new (...)

Waste workers take action over bullying and harassment

Around 100 employees of the SITA waste services company in Kirklees in North East England took strike action on Wednesday 27 April in response to what the Unite trade union calls “staggering abuse” and a culture of harassment and intimidation. A second day of action planned for 5 May was postponed to allow for talks with the company but a potential third day of action on 9 May could still go ahead. SITA, part of the Suez Environnement transnational company (35% owned by the GDF-Suez energy (...)

Three-week strike by control centre workers

Employees of the Lyonnaise des Eaux water company, part of the Suez Environnement group, have been on strike since 8 April over the company’s refusal to discuss their salary levels. The employees work at the control centre in Montgeron, south of Paris, which is responsible for the 24-hour monitoring and surveillance of water services for part of the Ile de France region. The employees are claiming equal pay for work of equal value taking account of their working conditions and (...)

Private sector deal targets low paid and includes equality proposals

Negotiations between unions and the NHO private sector employers’ organisation have delivered a NOK 6000 (€768) increase for lower paid workers – those workers who are paid less than 90% of the average wage in the manufacturing sector. The average wage in manufacturing is currently NOK 378573 (€48430) and so the 90% threshold is NOK 340715 (€43600). The deal also includes improvements to severance pay for older workers and an agreement that unions, employers and the government will work together (...)

Pay rise for Viennese utilities workers

The GDG-KMSFB local government union has negotiated a new agreement covering around 15,800 employees of Viennese municipal companies, including energy workers. The basic increase is 1.65% plus a flat rate increase of €5. This means that the actual increases range from 2.02% for the lowest paid up to 1.81% for the higher paid. Read more at > GDG-KMSFB (DE)

Further moves towards energy strike

Workers at the Narva power plant are continuing to demand a 25% pay increase and have set up a strike committee in preparation for possible industrial action to support their claim. The union argues that the claim is justified on the basis of no pay rise for three years and the level of profits generated by the company. Read more at > ERR news website (EN)

Strike planned at EON Italia

The three main union federations are planning a four-hour national stoppage in the EON energy company on 25 March. The strike is in protest at the company’s failure to discuss its long-term strategy and ensure, what the unions argue, would be adequate investments to protect employment in the company. The planned action was reported at the recent meeting of the EON European works council. Read more at > FILCTEM-CGIL (IT) And at EPSU (...)

Energy workers plan strike

Workers at the Narva power plant are planning possible strike action in support of their pay claim. The union is calling for pay increases of around 25% and for salaries in future to be linked to increases in prices. The union argues that pay has not been increased for three years while prices have been rising and the company has seen profits increase. Negotiations are continuing. Read more at > Estonian TV website (...)

Three-stage increase at MVV Energie

After four rounds of bargaining a new collective agreement has been negotiated at the MVV Energie company. There will be three increases to pay during the agreement: 3.0% backdated to 1 January 2011, 1.9% from 1 October 2011 and 0.6% from 1 July 2012. There will also be talks over special rules covering union members only. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Latest figures show 10-year pay trend below inflation

The FGFFO civil service trade union has produced a briefing on public sector pay that shows that the basic annual increase has exceeded inflation in only one of the last 11 years. The loss in purchasing power over the period is around 8%. Inflation in 2011 is expected to reach 2% while pay has been frozen until 2013. The UGFF-CGT federation has carried out a similar exercise including calculations for a sample of salary grades indicating what the loss of purchasing power means for gross (...)

Waste workers threatened strike action over outsourcing

The SIPTU members at South Dublin County Council have voted for strike action in protest at the council’s unilateral decision to privatize the waste collection service. The unions says that it has been working with management over improvements to the service and the council’s decision is in conflict with the national Croke Park agreement and earlier national agreements that give priority to using in-house labour. Read more at > SIPTU (...)

No progress after two rounds of bargaining

The employers and trade unions (GPA-DJP and PRO-GE) trade unions are no closer to agreement after two rounds of collective bargaining. The unions argue that the employers’ offer is below the trend set by the metal industry negotiations last November with an increase in inflation since then. The unions also argue that the electricity sector has not been hit so hard by the crisis. They also reject the idea that pay rises should be linked more to results at company level and have criticized (...)

3.4% pay rise in RWE and Vattenfall

Difficult negotiations along with warning strikes eventually produced pay increases of 3.4% for employees of the two energy companies RWE and Vattenfall. The Vattenfall agreement covers 20,000 workers and runs for 13 months from 1 January 2011. The RWE agreement is also for 13 months and runs from 1 November 2010 to 30 November 2011. Read more on Vattenfall at > ver.di (DE) And more on RWE at > ver.di (...)

Waste sector workers get 2% rise in 2011

After nine months of negotiations and strike action, ver.di has agreed a deal with the BDE employers’ organization covering 20,000 workers in the private waste industry. There will be a pay increase of 2% for 2011 with a €350 lump sum to cover the period from May to December 2010. Ver.di managed to resist pressure from the employers to create a two-tier pay structure that could have cut some salaries by 20%. Read more at > ver.di (...)

Energy companies face warning strikes

Ver.di has called on its members in the Vattenfall and RWE energy companies to support warning strikes in order to strengthen the unions’ position in the next round of collective bargaining. In Vattenfall the union has criticised the company for failing to make a concrete offer after two bargaining rounds in response to the union’s demands for a 6.5% increase for the 20,000 employees. Unions in RWE also want a 6.5% increase and there the employers have so far offered only 2.4% plus a lump sum (...)

Sacked refuse workers sue employment agency

Refuse workers sacked last year by the Adecco employment agency are taking the company to court. The men were recruited in Poland and offered work in Norway (see epsucob@NEWS 23, December 2010). They were sent to work for the Ragn-Sells waste collection company but they were sacked when they complained about their working conditions and so faced the prospect of having to return to Poland as they had no employment. However, they are now taking Adecco to court over its failure to meet is (...)

Energy company rejects pay increase

In the second round of bargaining, the Vattenfall Europe energy company has rejected the trade union demands for a pay increase for 2011. Ver.di and the others unions had put forward a claim for a 6.5% increase for the calendar year 2011 on the basis of good results for the company and a positive outlook for the German economy. The company argues that it needs more resources for investment and that rather than an increase in pay rates it would only increase the amount of money going to (...)

Waste workers strike over threats to cut pay and change pay system

Refuse collection workers employed by Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in England, have taken strike action in defence of their pay. The Council has not only threatened to cut their pay by around £4000 (€4720) a year but has also said it wants to change the salary system so that workers will be paid on the basis of the amount of rubbish they collect. Read more at > Unite (...)

Employers reduce pay offer

Energy workers are facing another year with a loss of purchasing power following the imposition of a 1.1% pay rise in 2011. With inflation forecast at 1.5% for the year this means a 0.4% fall in real terms. The employers had initially offered 1.2% but then reduced it to 1.1% when the trade unions refused to sign the agreement. Read more at > FNEM-FO (FR)

Polish workers sacked by agency at short notice

Municipal union Fagforbundet has highlighted the case of 14 Polish workers who were summarily sacked by the Adecco employment agency. The workers had been sent by Adecco to work on a refuse collection contract in the town of Asker that had been won by the Ragn-Sells company in November. The 14 men were expected to do a job previously done by 19 and were told by Adecco that they had not been working hard or fast enough and so should resign or face legal proceedings. The agency wouldn’t offer (...)

Warning strikes in private waste sector

Private waste sector workers around Germany have been involving in warning strikes in protest at the pay offer from the BDE private waste employers’ organisation. Services union ver.di has condemned the offer which effectively means no increase covering an eight-month period and then a rise of 1% in 2011. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Warning strikes over pay offer

Services union ver.di along with the IGBCE union organised warning strikes across all departments of the RWE energy company on 16 and 17 December. The action involved around 6,000 workers and was in protest at the management’s offer of a 2.4% pay increase plus lump sum payment. The unions argue that this is an insult in view of the company’s massive profits and they have demanded a rise of 6.5%. Read more at > ver.di (...)

Waste employers’ offer angers union

Verdi has reacted angrily to the latest proposals from the BDE private waste employers’ organisation. The union had called for a 3% pay increase backdated to May 2010 but the employers’ have offered nothing for an eight-month period and just 1% from January 2011. Verdi is also concerned about the employers’ aims to introduce a lower level pay structure which would mean some workers stuck on pay rates equivalent to those from the mid-1990s. Read more at > verdi (...)

Unions take action to defend employment conditions

Unions at water services group Veolia took industrial action earlier this month in protest at plans by the company to change their employment conditions from January 2011. In June this year Veolia won the 12-year contract for water supply for the Ile de France region in controversial circumstances. The unions, led by the CGT and FO, say that they currently benefit from pay and conditions in line with civil servants in the Paris region but will lose out if Veolia goes ahead with the changes (...)

Global federations sign agreement with GDF-Suez

EPSU’s sister organisation PSI was one of three global union federations that have signed a framework agreement with the energy and environmental group GDF-Suez. The agreement covers fundamental rights, social dialogue and sustainable development. It commits GDF SUEZ, the three Global Union Federations, and trade unions to cooperative social dialogue to achieve additional agreements, including on training, occupational health and safety, restructuring, and sustainable development and (...)

ENERGY, WASTE AND WATER – PAY SURVEY

EPSU is urging all its affiliates in energy, waste and water to get their members to complete an online survey. The survey is available in national languages on 21 national websites and is being co-ordinated by the Wage Indicator project. EPSU will be working with researchers from the University of Amsterdam who will analyse the data with the possibility of making comparisons of occupational pay within countries, between countries and even within and between transnational companies in the (...)

No progress after second round of bargaining at RWE

Negotiations are about to resume at the RWE energy company after the second round of bargaining ended without any progress. The company made an improved offer of 2.3% over 12 months but this was rejected by ver.di as wholly inadequate bearing in mind the positive outlook both for the company and for the economy over the coming year. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Energy union plans strike

The SDE energy sector union has been in lengthy negotiations with the government over restructuring of the electricity distribution sector. The union aims to protect employment and pay and conditions and is now planning a strike on 12 October in order to put pressure on the government. Read more at > SDE (SI)

ENERGY, WASTE AND WATER – COMPARE YOUR PAY

EPSU is urging all its affiliates in the energy, waste and water sectors to get their members to complete an online questionnaire. The survey covers occupational pay and conditions and will provide valuable information for comparisons both within and between countries and in multinational companies. The survey is being run as part of a project (WISUTIL) in co-operation with the Wage Indicator websites. Online survey forms are available in national languages in 21 EU countries. Find your (...)

Grid company challenged over low wages for sub-contractors

The electricity workers’ union has called on Fingrid, the national electricity grid company, to investigate claims that Turkish workers employed by a sub-contractor are paid wages at around half the rate set by the relevant collective agreement. The union is not opposed to the employment of foreign workers but concerned about maintaining the proper pay and conditions for employees in the sector. It is urging the company to consider its responsibility and ensure contracts are awarded fairly (...)

Waste sector conference focuses on bargaining and demographic change

Over 100 works and staff council representatives attended ver.di’s 2010 waste sector conference. They head a stark warning from Erhard Ott, head of ver.di’s energy, waste and transport section, that they were facing the prospect of very tough bargaining in the sector, much tougher than previous bargaining rounds. The conference also discussed the impact of an ageing workforce. With the average age of workers in the sector now reaching 50, delegates focused on the importance of improvements in (...)

Comparing salaries in the energy, waste and water sectors

Next month a new project will be launched that aims to collect data on salaries in the energy, waste and water sectors. Supported by EPSU the project will be run by researchers at the University of Amsterdam using the international network of Wage Indicator websites. EPSU affiliates will be urged to get involved and encourage their individual members in the energy, waste and water sectors to complete a short online survey. A briefing on the project is available on the EPSU website and is (...)

Energy deal includes commitment to improve skills

Unions have agreed a new deal with the KS employers’ organisation representing energy companies. There is a basic increase of NOK 4,500 (€569) and the agreement also establishes a minimum wage for the sector, ensuring that no one is paid below NOK 310,000 a year (€39,200). There also increases for daily allowances and a commitment that all workers should get the opportunity to upgrade their skills at least once every two years. Read more at > EL&IT (NO) And at > Fagforbundet (...)

Unions plan co-ordination of bargaining in industrial sectors

Six affiliates of the SAK confederation are discussing co-ordination of pay demands in the next round of collective bargaining. They are seeking to protect the level of real wages of their members. With inflation expected to reach 2% next year the unions have already rejected the call from the main employers’ organisation to limit increases to 1%. Read more at > SAK (FI)

Waste sector minimum wage to rise in November

The current €8.02 an hour minimum wage in the waste sector is to be increased to €8.24 from 1 November. This is the outcome of negotiations between ver.di and the VKA public and BDE private employer organizations that confirm the minimum wage in the sector will continue beyond the initial period of 1 January to 31 October 2010 an will now be maintained at least until 31 August 2011. Verdi is also pleased that negotiations will resume in January 2011 and it wants to establish minimum rates for (...)

Union secures 3% increase in energy agreement

Ver.di has negotiated a 3% pay increase from 1 January 2011 for the 20,000 workers in the private energy sector in Eastern Germany. The deal also includes a €1,500 lump sum payment to cover the period from July to December 2010. Trainees will also get the 3% increase and a €300 lump sum. The union also resisted employer attempts to increase working time beyond the current 38 hours a week and have ensured that the framework agreement continues until 2015. Read more at > ver.di (...)

Major utilities pay comparison project to launch soon

Researchers at the AIAS labour studies institute at Amsterdam University have secured funding from the European Commission to co-ordinate a 12-month project (WISUTIL) examining occupational pay rates in the energy, waste and water utilities. EPSU is supporting the project and its affiliates in the utilities will be asked to encourage their members to supply information on pay. The project will use the international network of Wage Indicator websites to get individual workers to input (...)

Outsourcing agreement in waste sector

The SIPTU general union has negotiated a deal to ensure that the “Croke Park” national agreement provisions on outsourcing are applied to the waste sector in Dublin. The union had threatened strike action against Dun Laoghaire council because it had intended to outsource waste collection services to the private company Panda without any consultation. The “Croke Park” agreement makes clear that public sector employers can only outsource after full consultation with the trade unions. There will (...)

Strike at waste company

Members of the STAL union are taking strike action against the Resiestrela waste company that provides services to 13 municipalities. The union is calling for the right to negotiate a proper collective agreement and accuses the management of the company of adopting an anti-trade union stance. Read more at > STAL (PT)

Union secures meeting over waste management in Dublin

Dun Laoghaire council in Dublin has agreed to meet with the SIPTU union and the other three councils in the Dublin area to resolve a dispute over waste privatisation. SIPTU has threatened strike action over the council’s unilateral proposal to outsource its waste collection. The union argues that this contravenes the recently negotiated “Croke Park” national agreement that set out clear procedures for negotiations over privatisation and restructuring in local government. Read more at > SIPTU (...)

Union shows red card to employers’ stalling tactics

Services union ver.di has criticised the BDE private waste sector employers for playing for time in the current negotiations. The union’s main demands are a 3% pay increase plus the abolition of the two lowest pay grades. Ver.di is particularly concerned that employers are talking about new employees starting on 80% of the normal rate and argues that the risk would be that these lower rates would be made permanent and so create a two-tier pay system. Read more at > ver.di (...)

Industrial action threatened over waste privatisation

The SIPTU trade union agreed to talks at the Labour Relations Commission over a dispute over privatisation but says its members working for Dun Laoghaire council, just to the South East of Dublin, may still take industrial action. The union is angry that the council decided unilaterally to outsource the waste service to a company called Panda. This is not just counter to earlier agreements on outsourcing in the public sector but also to the commitment in the recent national Croke Park (...)

Day of action on 8 July

Unions in the CGTP confederation are backing a day of action on 8 July as part of the continuing campaign against government austerity measures. The STAL union argues that after the support shown by 300,000 workers on 29 May, it was important to maintain the pressure on the government and its proposals to freeze salaries and attack services and other conditions of employment. Read more at > STAL (...)

Seven union organizations co-ordinate action over pensions

Unions plan to continue their protests and resistance against government plans to raise the pension age. The CGT, CFDT, FO, CFCT, FSU, Solidaires and UNSA argue that the proposals fail to take account of workers, particularly women, with irregular contribution records and those employed in difficult and dangerous occupations. Following the day of action on 29 June, the unions are committed to maintain their opposition throughout the legislative process and will organize the next day of (...)

Over a million workers demonstrate over government austerity measures

The CGIL confederation organized a national strike on 25 June with its members in the private sector called out for a four-hour stoppage while the FP-CGIL public sector federation organized a 24-hour strike in the public sector. The confederation estimates that over a million people joined demonstrations around the country in protest against the government’s planned spending cuts that include a three-year pay freeze for public sector workers and cuts in productivity payments. Read more at > (...)

Confederations unite in fifth general strike against austerity measures

The ADEDY public sector and GSEE private sector union confederation organized their fifth general strike on 29 June in protest against government cuts to the social security system and changes to employment legislation. Read more at > ADEDY (EL) And at > Bloomberg news website (EN)

Union calls for minimum wage in waste sector to be extended

Services union ver.di has welcomed the implementation of an €8.02 an hour minimum wage in the waste sector. However, the union believes that it is urgent to extend the coverage to deal with wage competition in the sector. Negotiations between the union, the VKA local government employers and BDE private sector employers’ organization will resume at the beginning of August. The regulations implementing the minimum rate came into force on 1 January 2010 but are only valid until 31 October 2010 (...)

General strike called for 29 September

Following the public sector strike on 8 June, the main confederations have called for a general strike on 29 September in protest at the government plans for public spending cuts and labour law reforms. This is the date of the ETUC’s European-wide mobilization with its key demands of “No cuts, more growth.” The Spanish unions have other action planned in the meantime with mobilizations in the regions on 30 June and then in Madrid on 9 September. Read more at > FSC CCOO (ES) And at > FSP UGT (...)

Federation follows demonstration with strike action

The FP CGIL public services federation has reacted to government plans to cut public spending by organizing a national demonstration on 12 June and this will be followed by a national public strike in most regions on 25 June (with action in some regions on 2 July). The cuts will have a direct impact on public sector workers’ pay. Previously agreed pay increases will be reduced and workers are also likely to lose the productivity-related elements of their salaries. Read more at > FP CGIL (IT) (...)

Confederations continue to protest

A national rally organized on 16 June was the most recent action co-ordinated by the ADEDY public sector and GSEE private sector trade union confederations. The protest was not only over the cuts in public sector pay that will see workers lose up to 35% of pay in real terms over the next four years, but also in opposition to the wide range of other measures the government is pushing through including changes to labour law that will undermine collective agreements. Read more at > ADEDY (...)

Majority of public services unions vote to accept deal with government

The public services unions in the ICTU confederation have voted to accept the so-called Croke Park deal. The agreement commits the government not to cut public service pay again, and to begin the process of reversing recent pay cuts as savings flow from the substantial reforms set out in the deal. It also contains a government commitment to avoid compulsory redundancies, plus important safeguards on pensions and outsourcing. Public service pay has been cut by an average of 14% over the last (...)

National demonstration planned over pension reforms

Five union organizations (CFDT, CGT, FSU, Solidaires and UNSA) are mobilizing for a demonstration on 24 June in protest at government plans to increase the retirement age and employees’ pension contributions. The unions argue that the changes will mean that as a result of the various breaks in their careers many women will have to work until the age of 65 to get a full pension. They point out that generally the reforms don’t acknowledge the scale of the gender pensions gap nor the need to (...)

Waste agreement protects purchasing power

Unions and employers in the waste and environment sector have agreed in principal on a 12-month deal that provides a 1.1% increase and so keeps pay rising in line with inflation. The agreement also includes an amount equal to 0.4% of the paybill that will fund initiatives relating to recruitment and promotion. Read more at > Abvakabo (NL)

Public sector workers strike against pay cuts

A public-sector wide strike on 31 May was followed by further action on 1 June as unions protested against a government-imposed 25% cut in pay. Workers in local government, prisons, hospitals, transport and other services were involved. Further action may follow in the health sector later in the month. Read more at > CBC news website (EN) And solidarity message at > EPSU (...)

Unions build for general strike on 8 June

Following demonstrations at the end of May, unions are mobilising for a general strike on 8 June in protest at government plans for massive cuts in public spending including a 5% cut in public sector workers’ pay. The FSC-CCOO federation argues that the cuts will have a regressive impact as workers on lower pay rates will suffer larger reductions than the higher paid. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES) And at > FEP-USO (...)

Federation mobilizes for 12 June protests

The FP CGIL public services federation is planning a national demonstration on 12 June in protest at government proposals for cuts. The union says that public sector pay will be frozen until 2013, recruitment will also be frozen while half of those on fixed-term contracts will lose their jobs. The FP CSIL federation is not planning protests at the moment. It is running a campaign to get workers and citizens to expose waste and unproductive spending in the public sector with arguments that (...)

Massive demonstration against government austerity plans

An estimated 300,000 workers joined the protests on 29 May against government plans to cut public spending. Public service unions have attacked the government for its austerity measures. Apart from freezing pay the government also plans to cut a range of other payments including overtime and performance payments. There will be cuts in pay for some managers and officials as well as a freeze on recruitment and a block on career progression. Workers’ net salary will also be affected by a range (...)

Unions estimate a million workers supported demonstrations

The six unions that organized a day of action on 27 May estimate that around a million people got involved in some 176 demonstrations around the country. The CGT, CFDT, CFTC, FSU, Solidaires and UNSA called the protests in opposition to the government’s policies on the public sector, pay and pensions. After a meeting on 31 May the same group of unions agreed on another national mobilisation on 24 June. Read more at > CGT (FR) And at > CFDT (...)

Unions react angrily to public sector pay cuts

Public service federations FSC-CCOO and FSP-UGT have attacked the government for its sudden announcement of deep public spending cuts. The government wants to cut pay by 5% this year and freeze it next year. Most pensions will be frozen and a range of other measures will add up to €5 billion of cuts this year and €10 billion in 2011. Unions are angry at the way the government has broken agreements with the unions and wants to force public sector workers to suffer cuts in pay and pensions (...)

Government proposes 25% cuts in public sector pay

The government has announced that it wants to make deep cuts in public spending in 2011 to avoid having to call on the International Monetary Fund for further loans. Public sector pay could be cut by 25% and pensions by 15%. Unions and opposition parties are planning protests and the Sex Lex civil service federation is consulting members over strike action. Read more at > Sed Lex (RO) And at > SETimes (EN) Read more at > Irish Times (...)

Confederations plan next joint general strike for 20 May

The ADEDY public sector and GSEE private sector confederations have agreed to joint action on 20 May in the latest protest at the cuts being pushed through by the Greek government in accordance with demands from the European Commission and International Monetary Fund. The unions are focusing in particular on cuts to pensions and social security highlighting the fact that a major problem has been previous government failure to tackle the high levels of undeclared work that had reduced the (...)

Union decides to recommend acceptance of public service agreement

Following a key court ruling and further clarification from the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), the executive of the IMPACT public service union has decided that it will recommend that it members accept the public service agreement proposed by the government. The court ruled that important parts of an existing agreement covering performance management, outsourcing guarantees, premium pay rates and other issues would continue to be valid. The LRC also confirmed that unions would be fully (...)

Days of action on pay, jobs and pensions

Five trade union organisations have issued a joint call for a day of action on 27 May. The CGT, CFDT, UNSA, Solidaires and FSU will be mobilising in protest at government plans to freeze public spending for three years. The unions want to see increases in public sector pay and an end to job cuts. They are also concerned about proposals to change the pensions system and the fact that the government has allowed little time for consultation on the issue. Meanwhile the FO confederation has (...)

Unions and employers agree to talks on waste sector minimum wage

As from 1 January 2010 employees in the waste sector including street cleaning workers have been covered by a legal sectoral minimum wage set at €8.02 an hour until 31 October 2010. Services union ver.di has won agreement from the BDE private sector employers’ and the VKA municipal employers’ organisations to discuss how to maintain the minimum beyond 31 October 2010. Read more at > ver.di (...)

Busworkers to strike to defend collective agreement

Around 1,000 members of the JHL and JYTY trade unions are planning strike action on 20 and 21 May in protest at the City of Helsinki company’s plans to unilaterally pull out of the company collective agreement. If this happens then workers would be covered by the sectoral agreement and they would lose a range of allowances where the company agreement provides better pay than at sectoral level. The unions are also concerned about the company imposing new rules on shift work that would give (...)

New two-year agreement in the energy sector

The SEKO services union has agreed a two-year deal with the EFA energy employers’ association that will see salaries increase by 3.7% for the 3,500 workers covered by the agreement. The deal includes setting minimum wages for 18-year-olds but also for skilled workers with two and five years’ experience. The minimum monthly wage for 18-year-olds will be SEK 17288 (€1790) in 2010 rising to SEK 17738 (€1840) in 2011. Read more at > SEKO (...)

Campaign against cuts continues

After a national public sector strike on 22 April, the civil service confederation ADEDY is calling on its members to support a general strike on 5 May, co-ordinated with the GSEE private sector confederation. Read more at > ADEDY (GR) And at > ERT news website (EN)

Union agrees energy deal and splitting of agreement

A new 12-month collective agreement has been negotiated in the energy sector with a 1.1% pay increase from 1 June 2010. There will also be a lump sum payment worth 0.4% of annual salary to be paid in January 2011 into a so-called benefit budget. This is for employees to use according to their personal preference and so could provide greater working time flexibility or taken as salary. The agreement also included provisions on training and initiatives to take on young unemployed workers. (...)

Pay offer from employers fails to impress

The second round of bargaining over the AVE sectoral agreement failed to produce a result. The employers, dominated by EON, offered a 2.3% increase. However, the union wants a 5.5% over 12 months for the 30,000 employees covered by the agreement. Ver.di argues that the employers remain highly profitable and have not suffered as much from the crisis as other sectors. Bargaining resumes on 5 May. Read more at > ver.di (...)

Unions reject further changes to pensions

Public service unions have made clear that they are unhappy about government proposals to change the pension age and calculation. The CGT local government federation wants to retain the right to retire at 60 and for a pension worth 75% of salary after a full career. It also called on the government to organise negotiations involving all the public service federations. FO’s civil service federation has attacked the conclusions of a report from the Pensions Advisory Council. The federation (...)

Regional meetings debate collective bargaining in the energy sector

EPSU’s working group on collective bargaining in the energy sector in Central and Western Europe met for the sixth time on 21 April to discuss the latest developments in negotiations and to look at updated information on wages and profits in some of the main European energy transnational companies. On 23 April the VDSZSZ Hungarian energy union organised a meeting with Czech, Slovak and Slovenian unions to discuss a range of issues including collective bargaining developments in the (...)

Unions divided over public service agreement

Public sector unions are divided over their response to the draft public service agreement that was drawn up to end industrial action over pay, pensions and jobs. The core of the agreement was the idea that public sector pay cuts would gradually be reversed if efficiency savings were made. The CPSU and Impact public sector unions argue that the agreement does not deliver real guarantees in terms of pay and pensions for their members and so they are recommending that their members vote (...)

Union sets out collective bargaining guidelines in waste sector

The waste sector of the ver.di services union has agreed a set of collective bargaining guidelines to provide a framework for its negotiations in the industry. The union argues that in the past it has had to react to continuing pressure from the employers to cut jobs and keep wages low. Instead of reacting to events, the union wants to develop a more strategic approach to its collective bargaining work in a sector characterised by intense wage competition a trend for employers to pull out (...)

Private sector deal welcomed by unions

A basic hourly increase of NOK 1 (worth NOK 1950 annually €245) and NOK 0.5 per hour per employee allocated to an equal pay pot are the key elements of the latest agreement negotiated between the Spekter employers’ organizations and unions in the LO and YS confederations. Spekter covers around 190 firms with 180,000 employees in a range of sectors but mainly health, transport and energy. Read more at > Fagforbundet (...)

Private sector deal agreed for most workers

The main private sector collective agreement has been finalised and will provide minimum pay increases of 1.2% in 2010 and 1.8% in 2011. Local bargaining will mean further increases on top of these minima. The agreement runs until 31 March 2012 and is important in relation to the two public sector agreements for state and municipal workers where bargaining will begin towards the end of the year to renew the agreements by 1 April 2011. The private sector deal also includes improved parental (...)

Gas engineers’ strike threat wins concessions

The GMB general union has come to an agreement with British Gas which means that possible industrial action by engineers will be avoided. The union had been balloting members for strike action in response to a range of issues and in particular management threats to cuts jobs. The GMB and British Gas management have now issued joint statements that confirm that any restructuring in the company will only follow a proper process of consultation and negotiation. Read more at > GMB (...)

Nearly one in 10 workers on fixed-term contracts

The latest economic policy briefing from services union ver.di reveals that 2.7 million workers, nearly 10% of all employees in Germany are on fixed-term contracts. This is a significant increase from the early 1990s. The briefing notes in particular that two thirds of new jobs in the public and social services are fixed-term. Ver.di wants employers to justify the use of such contracts and to stop using them as part of normal employment practice. Read more at > ver.di (...)

Confederation plans further strike action

The ADEDY civil service confederation has warned of further strike action in March or April in protest at cuts to public sector pay and pensions. ADEDY joined with the GSEE private sector confederation in a general strike on 11 March. Following a two-day strike on 16-17 March, energy workers have threatened another 48-hour strike unless the government withdraws a 7% pay cut and 10% cut in pensions. Read more at > Reuters (EN) And at > ADEDY (...)

Unions step up action

Public sector unions have decided to step up their industrial action in response to the government’s failure to negotiate over further pay cuts. The unions want the government to agree a transformation programme that would allow pay cuts to be reversed as savings are made. As part of the industrial action low paid workers in seven Dublin hospitals will be taking strike action both over the current national dispute but also over the threat to outsource services. Read more at > IMPACT (EN) And (...)

High level of support for strike

Both the STAL and SINTAP trade unions report a very high level of support for the national public sector strike on 4 March. They estimate turnout at between 75% and 85% with all parts of the public sector affected. The strike was in protest at the government’s call for a public sector pay freeze and with a demand for a proper process of negotiation. Read more at > SINTAP (PT) Read more at > STAL (...)

Confederation claims a million workers on the streets

The CGIL trade union confederation organised a four-hour general strike and a series of demonstrations across the country in protest at the government’s policies on dealing with the crisis, taxation, employment rights and migrants’ rights. Read more at > CGIL (EN) Read more at > CGIL (IT)

Confederation co-ordinates range of action around collective bargaining

Trade union affiliates of the LO blue-collar workers’ confederation have been involved in a range of demonstrations and events highlighting the importance and value of collective agreements. The main collective bargaining round is underway and LO wants to ensure that workers are aware of the benefits of collective agreements both to those covered by them but also to the working of society and the economy in general. Read more at > LO (...)

Energy workers balloted for industrial action

Around 8,000 members of the GMB union working for British Gas are being balloted for industrial action. The employees, mainly engineering workers, have already given 90% support for action in a consultative ballot. They are responding to threats from management to cut up to 25% of full-time equivalent staff working in non-customer facing roles. Read more at > GMB (EN)

Collective bargaining committee backs deal worth 3.5%

Workers in federal and local government will be asked to vote on a new collective agreement that was accepted by ver.di’s collective bargaining committee. Ver.di says that overall the deal is worth 3.5%. There is a 1.2% pay increase backdated to 1 January 2010 and then there will be two increases in 2011 – 0.6% on 1 January and 0.5% on 1 August. There will also be a €240 lump sum paid on 1 January 2011. The union’s assessment is that this is a reasonable agreement bearing in mind the difficult (...)

Unions call national strike for 4 March

Public sector unions have called a national strike for 4 March in protest at the government’s plans to freeze public sector pay until 2013. The SINTAP union points out that workers have already lost 6%-7% of purchasing power in recent years as a result of pay increases falling behind inflation. The STAL union says that the 50,000-strong demonstration on 5 February showed the level of anger among public sector workers and is convinced of a high turnout on the day. Read more at > SINTAP (PT) (...)

Swedish union backs ver.di over Vattenfall protests

The German subsidiary of the Swedish state-owned power company Vattenfall is claiming that is has to make savings of €180 million. Energy union ver.di organised a protest march on 3 March against the company’s plans that could lead to 1500 job cuts. The company also wants to outsource some of its services with the prospect that workers will be covered by poorer collective agreements with the risk that some will lose €8000-€10000 a year in income. Swedish energy union SEKO has expressed its (...)

Delegates debate key energy collective bargaining issues

Around 300 delegates of the ver.di services union met in Hannover earlier this month to discuss collective bargaining priorities in the energy sector. They are facing a challenging bargaining environment with employers pushing for pay freezes. Other issues include the spread of outsourcing and poorer collective agreements, the growth of precarious employment and employer reluctance to guarantee jobs for apprentices. Read more at > EPSU (...)

Energy workers get 1.6% on lowest rate

After two rounds of negotiations unions secured a 1.6% pay increase on the lowest pay rates for the 18,000 workers in the electricity industry. Increases on higher pay rates varied between 1.45% and 1.55%. The agreement runs from 1 February 2010 to 31 January 2011. Read more at > GPA-DJP (DE)

Energy affiliates concerned about EON restructuring

EPSU affiliates that represent workers from 11 countries in the EON energy group met in Brussels at the end of January to exchange information on developments in the company. They were particularly concerned about the impact of EON’s Europe-wide “Perform to Win” restructuring programme. One result of this is the planned closure of a call centre in Essex in the UK with the loss of up to 800 jobs. Read more at > EPSU (...)

Municipal union puts climate change on bargaining agenda

The SKTF white-collar local government union is calling on private companies in the KFS employers’ organisation to discuss measures to deal with climate change. The union negotiates for around 7,000 employees in companies in the municipal sector that provide electricity, water and sewage services. The union also wants to see improvements in conditions for young workers and those on temporary contracts. It argues that this is important for improving the quality and efficiency of services and (...)

Government agrees to waste sector minimum wage

Ver.di has welcomed the government’s decision to implement a minimum wage of €8.02 an hour in the waste sector. The union had been concerned that the new coalition, involving the FDP liberal party, that came to power last year would not fulfil the commitment of the previous government to introduce a minimum wage for the sector. However, federal employment minister Ursula von der Leyen signed the regulation in December so that it would come into effect in January. Ver.di estimates that around (...)

Unions sign equality agreement with water company

The FSC-CCOO and FIA-UGT trade union federations have signed a new agreement on gender equality with Aqualia, one of the biggest water companies in Spain that provides services for 850 municipalities. The agreement requires the unions and employer to work together on a range of issues, including employment, training, promotion and pay. It also covers sexual harassment, one issue on which the company already had an agreement. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (...)

Public sector workers to get 0.9% plus €4

After several very challenging rounds of negotiations the GÖD and GDG public service unions have accepted a pay increase of 0.9% plus €4 a month for 2010. The government had initially said that it had only budgeted for a 0.5% increase in the pay bill and that it only wanted to pay a lump sum payment. The flat-rate increase of €4 means that the overall increase for the lowest paid will be 1.23% and 0.94% for the highest paid. Other payments and allowances will increase by 0.9%. The increase (...)

Report shows real value of public service workers

A new study by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) challenges the way jobs are valued in the labour market and uncovers the additional social and environmental value of key public service jobs such as hospital cleaners, childcare workers and waste and recycling workers. The NEF contrasts the positive social and environmental contributions of these jobs with the negative impact of top bankers, advertising executives and tax consultants. According to NEF calculations while collecting salaries (...)

Ver.di reacts angrily to block on waste sector minimum wage

Despite a commitment from the previous government, the federal economics minister Rainer Brüderle of the FDP liberal party has refused to back a minimum wage for the waste sector. Ver.di had agreed with the BDE employers’ organization that a legal minimum wage for the sector was needed to stop companies undercutting wages, with hourly wages falling as low as €4-€6 an hour. The union was preparing demonstrations around the country on 10 December and called on Chancellor Merkel to overrule the (...)

CGT quits EDF safety body

The FNME-CGT energy federation has decided to withdraw from the National Council on Workplace Safety (CNST) that was set up a year ago by the EDF energy company. The council was a replacement for two previous health and safety bodies that were dissolved when EDF’s status changed from being a fully nationalized company. The CGT argues that the new body does not have the same powers as the committees which it replaced and that the debates in the CNST are restricted and controlled by the (...)

Union ballots on industrial action over pay

Members of UNISON at the National Grid utilities company are voting on an overtime ban and work-to-rule in protest at the company’s pay offer. National Grid has offered just a lump sum payment and also wants to introduce poorer terms and conditions for new starters. Read more at > UNISON (EN)

Ver.di calls on Chancellor to honour commitment to waste minimum wage

The ver.di services union has called on Chancellor Merkel to honour a commitment made by the previous Grand Coalition government to introduce a minimum wage in the waste sector. Following elections the new centre-right coalition now looks less like to endorse the sectoral minimum wage because of the influence of the FDP liberal party. Ver.di says that many workers in the waste industry face poverty wages of €4-€6 an hour whereas the initial target for the minimum wage in the sector would (...)

Unions pleased with support for waste sector strike

The Italian unions organizing in the waste sector achieved a major success in their protest against the reforms of the government in the waste sector, 18 November 2009. With total or near stoppages of work in all regions, the unions are giving a strong signal to the government that the restructuring and privatization of the waste sector and companies does not have the support of workers. Unions are concerned about the impact on pay and conditions as well as quality of service if private (...)

Unions disagree over EDF pay offer

The CGT, FO and CFTC unions have refused to sign a new pay agreement with EDF although the agreement is being implemented following the decision by the CFDT and CFE-CGC unions to sign. The deal involves a 1.2% general increase from January 2010, based on the predicted level of inflation next year. There is also 0.7% for individual increases, 0.3% related to changes to the pension system and 0.6% linked to seniority increases in the pay scale. During energy sector campaigning and strike (...)

No progress after fourth round of pay negotiations

The GDG and GÖD public sector unions have rejected the employers’ latest offer of a 0.5% pay increase. The unions have written a joint letter to the chancellor (prime minister) vice-chancellor arguing that they should immediately get involved in the negotiations as the current negotiators do not have a full mandate. At the moment the employers are even refusing to offer a rise in line with inflation (0.9%). Read more at > GDG (DE) And at > GÖD (...)

Council waste workers win pay dispute

After 12 weeks on strike, 300 workers at Leeds City Council’s refuse collection department have decided to return to work following guarantees by the council that their pay would not be cut. The council had threatened to cut pay by up to £6,000 a year for some employees. This was the council’s response to an equal pay claim and rather than increase pay rates for women, the council had wanted to cut the pay of the male dominated refuse collection service. Read more at > UNISON (EN) And at > (...)

Call for workers to be protected whenever new energy providers win contracts

The public services union ver.di is arguing that local authorities should take responsibility for ensuring that workers’ pay and conditions are protected in the event of a change in energy provider. In many areas the 20-year concessions for electricity distribution are ending and local authorities have the opportunity to change provider. Ver.di points out that past evidence shows even small councils are capable of running local energy companies but that any change in provider has to take (...)

Waste sector conference highlights attack on pay and conditions

Waste sector works council representatives in the public and private sector met on 21-22 October to discuss the challenges facing the industry. The conference discussed how employers in the private sector were trying to cut pay and conditions, with public sector employers following trends in the private sector. Participants called for a minimum wage for the sector as well as a national legal minimum wage of €7.50 an hour rising to €9.00. The conference also heard how the BDE private sector (...)

Public sector pay negotiations head for third round

The first two rounds of negotiations over the 2010 pay increase for public sector workers did not produce any major developments. In the first round the employers and trade unions heard a report on the economic situation from the WIFO institute and the second round of bargaining broke up with no result. The next round takes place on 19 November. In his public statements state secretary Reinhold Lopatka has spoken repeatedly of minimal increases to pay. In the meantime, the GDG has (...)

EPSU agrees procedure for negotiating transnational agreements

Following detailed discussions in the utilities standing committee over a period of three years, a procedure for negotiating transnational agreements was debated and approved at the EPSU Executive Committee meeting on 9-10 November. Increasingly agreements have been signed with multi-national companies, often by European works councils, but European Federations like EPSU, following the initiative in the European Metalworkers Federation, have been working to establish procedures that give a (...)

Union condemns sackings and disciplining of strikers

The FNME-CGT energy sector federation has attached the EDF and GDF-Suez companies for the intimidation and disciplining of union activists who took part in strikes and demonstrations to defend pay, employment and working conditions earlier this year. Over 200 union members have been targeted by the companies with four from the Toulouse region sacked for their involvement in the action. The union has also criticized the intervention of government ministers who have endorsed the companies’ (...)

Union calls for public-sector wide strike action

Members of the IMPACT public services union have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in response to the government’s latest proposals for cuts in public sector workers’ pay. The union will call on other public sector unions to join a 24-hour stoppage on 24 November. Six unions have joined together in an alliance of public sector workers delivering frontline services. The general union SIPTU along with unions representing nurses, firefighters, police (Garda) officers and prison (...)

Unions call strike in waste sector

The three main unions – CGIL, CISL and UIL – have called for strike action in the waste sector on 20 November in response to government plans for the sector which will lead to privatisation or some form of public private partnership with at least a 40% share going to the private sector. The implications are that there will be very few services that will continue to be run by in-house providers. Apart from the likely impact on pay and conditions, the unions are worried about the effect of the (...)

Union launches consultation in lead up to public sector negotiations

The energy section of the ver.di services union has begun consulting members over forthcoming pay negotiations over the public sector agreement covering municipal utility companies (TV-V). The union warns that bargaining is likely to be tough in the current economic climate with local authorities pleading poverty. However, the union believes that it is important to secure real increases in pay to help maintain consumer spending in response to the crisis and it lists recent bargaining (...)

Waste contractor sacks striking employees

The waste contractor HCS has sacked 50 refuse collectors after losing a number of its municipal contracts in the Copenhagen area. The workers had been on strike for three weeks over their working conditions. Despite being sacked they have been continuing their action against the company, picketing the HCS waste disposal units in Glostrup and on the island of Amager. Union activist Ronni Larsen was arrested on one of the latest demonstrations. The refuse collectors had discovered that they (...)

Power station workers take strike action

Workers at the Lucy power station in the Bourgogne region began strike action on 21 October in protest at company plans for closure of part of the site and further restructuring. The coal-fired plant is owned by the SNET company which was recently taken over by German energy multinational EON. The CGT union argues that the company has failed to abide by agreements about maintaining the site, has plans for further jobs cuts after closing one part of the site in 2013 and has failed to (...)

Unions aim to secure best deal for redundant National Grid workers

The three main unions in the National Grid energy company – Unite, UNISON and GMB – have conceded that the planned closure of the company’s Newcastle site will go ahead in 2010 with many of the jobs being moved to India. The unions ran a joint campaign focusing on the massive profits being made by the company but they are now shifting their focus to negotiating the best severance packages for their members. Read more at > GMB (...)

Union proposes co-ordinated approach to tackle gender pay gap

The Fagforbundet municipal union is calling for public sector unions to co-ordinate their pay claims next year with special negotiations over how to deal with pay inequality. Average pay in the public sector, where 70% of workers are women, is lower than in the private sector where 70% of the workers are men. The specially convened pay commission argued that around 3 billion kronor was needed to close the gender pay gap and Fagforbundet wants to see the unions get together following the (...)

Refuse collectors take strike action

Workers in the waste collection service in Leiden took strike action on 21 October in protest at plans to privatise the service. The workers are hoping that privatisation will be postponed and that the union will be able to negotiate changes and improvements to the service. Further strikes may follow if the municipality goes a head with the privatisation. Read more at > Abvakabo (...)

Meter readers strike over temporary contracts

Employees of the Metrix meter reading company, a subsidiary of Sibelga, the company that manages the gas and electricity networks in Brussels, have gone on strike in protest at the high level of temporary contracts in the company. Only one in four workers are on permanent contracts compared with 75% in comparable companies in Flanders and Wallonia. The company has refused to increase the number of permanent contracts. The union also expects that the introduction of smart meters in 2015 will (...)

Strike called off as energy union talks to government

After a warning strike on 24 August the SDE energy union has managed to secure talks with the government over plans to unbundle of the Slovenian electricity network from the retail business. A strike planned for 14 September has been called following the government’s agreement to have a proper process of social dialogue over the changes. Read more at > EPSU (EN)

Energy workers strike over job losses

Workers at the National Grid in Newcastle took strike action on 11 September in protest at the company’s plans to close the site and transfer work overseas. The action may spread to other sites that are affected by the company’s restructuring proposals. Read more at > UNISON (EN) And at > GMB (EN) And at > the unions’ campaign website (EN)

Employers make concessions after “final” offer

After union members in the waste and environment sector overwhelmingly rejected the employers’ “final” offer of a 1% pay increase, a further improved offer was made. The 1% pay increase backdated to 1 June will stand but a further increase will be paid if inflation rises above 1% at the end of the year. Abvakabo had indicated that it was willing to be flexible on pay if the employers would make some guarantees on jobs and discussions on employment in the sector are continuing. Read more at > (...)

Union attacks EDF for allowing sub-contractors to sack workers

The CGT has criticised the EDF energy company and its eRDF subsidiary for failing to support workers who were dismissed when a meter-reading was awarded to a new company. The new contractor also refused to abide by an employment tribunal decision that the workers should be reinstated. The union accused EDF of failing to comply with its own social responsibility code on sub-contractors and undermining its own claims to be supporting employment during the crisis. Read more at > FNME-CGT (...)

Energy sector dispute settled

Unions in the energy sector have managed to secure a change in the way that local pay increases are allocated. Several unions have argued that the local additions should be flat rates rather than percentage increases that benefit the higher paid more. A settlement was reached with the aid of the mediation office and a general increase of 925 Krone (€107) applies from 1 July. A committee has also been established to look at how the local wage negotiations will work in future. Read more at > (...)

Ver.di secures jobs commitment from EON

Energy union ver.di and the EON group works council have negotiated a compromise agreement with the company to protect jobs and working conditions for most of EON’s 40,000 employees in Germany. The company’s planned “perform-to-win” savings programme threatened job cuts and other major changes across the group. The agreement means that jobs, collective agreements, training provision and pensions will be protected until 2012. However, the company still aims to go-ahead with its plans to split (...)

EPSU backs UK unions’ campaign against National Grid

The GMB, UNISON and UNITE trade unions have come together in a campaign against plans by the National Grid energy transmission company to close a facility in Newcastle with the loss of 189 jobs some of which the company intends to switch to India. EPSU has written to the company’s chief executive calling for the decision to be reversed. Read more at > EPSU (EN)

Energy unions focus on directors’ pay as strikes continue despite legal threats

Strike action in the energy sector is continuing despite legal threats from employers. Unions are looking for a 5% pay increase but the employers have not budged on the 0.3% paid at the beginning of the year. To highlight their arguments the unions have revealed salary details for directors at the ERdF and GRdF distribution companies where overall executive saw their pay increase by 14% between 2007 and 2008. Strike action at nuclear power stations has continued in the fact of legal threats (...)

Unions review campaign in light of mobilisations on 13 June

Saturday 13 June was the fifth of this year’s series of national mobilisations over pay, public services and the crisis in France. Public sector unions have, with their private sector colleagues, tried to maintain the level of support but are aware they need to take stock of their campaign. Unions estimate some 150,000 people took part in 159 actions around the country and one opinion poll indicated that nearly three in four of the population back the demonstrations. However, unions are (...)

EON action day to protest over job cuts

Services union ver.di has called a demonstration outside the head quarters of the EON energy company in Düsseldorf on 18 June. The protest is over the company’s “savings” programme that unions fear could lead to the loss of 6,000 jobs across Europe with outsourcing affected a further 4,000 employees who are likely to find themselves covered by poorer collective agreements or by no collective agreement at all. Unions are particularly critical of the company because it recently announced (...)

Strike action in energy sector continues in face of legal threats from employers

Energy unions FNME-CGT and FNEM-FO have denounced the EDF energy company for resorting to the courts to try to undermine the industrial action taking place across the sector. Both have made clear their determination to maintain their campaigns of strikes and demonstrations in support of their claim for a 5% pay increase and €1500 lump sum. The employers at sectoral level have so far refused to make any offer having implemented a 0.3% pay increase at the start of the year. Read more at > (...)

Union pressure leads to increase in employment

The PPC national power company has decided to create 2,300 new jobs in addition to 2,300 jobs that it has already advertised. The company’s initiative comes in the face of determined demands from the GENOP energy union to take on an additional 7,000 workers. The union has been arguing that a shortage of trained workers and an increasing reliance on contractors have undermined health and safety in the company – four workers have been killed since the beginning of the year. Read more at > (...)

National Grid workers back industrial action to block offshoring

Members of the GMB general union employed by the National Grid transmission company in the North East of England have supported strike action against offshoring in a consultative ballot. The union is angry that the company is looking to close a site and offshore 181 jobs to India despite making massive profits. Read more at > GMB (EN)

Agreement ends refuse collection pay dispute

Refuse collectors in Bristol in South West England have gone back to work after taking strike action over pay. The members of the Unite trade union agreed to a new three-year deal that will pay a minimum of 2.75% for the year November 2008 to October 2009. The remaining years of the agreement and various procedures to improve industrial relations will be negotiated in a process of binding arbitration that will be overseen by the UK’s conciliation and arbitration body, Acas. Read more at > (...)

Union pleased with short-term deal in energy sector

Public services union Abvakabo has agreed a 10-month deal for the energy sector with a basic pay increase of 1.3%. The current two-year agreement expires on 30 June and the new agreement will only run from 1 July to 30 April 2010. It is seen as a transitional agreement that covers the current difficult economic circumstances and is in line with the national social accord agreed by the confederations. There will also be a payment worth 0.75% of salary on 1 January 2010 which is part of a new (...)

No pay deal on offer from energy sector employers

The four energy sector federations made a joint statement on 28 May setting out their main demands and attacking employers in the energy sector (IEG) for failing to re-open negotiations on the 2009 pay increase and for pulling out of talks about a new job classification system that started in 2007. The CGT, FO, CFDT and CFTC want to negotiate an overall salary increase for all workers in the sector but the employers have implemented an increase of only 0.3% this year. The unions are (...)

Energy unions continue their action

The four main federations in the energy sector – FNME-CGT, FNEM-FO, CFDT and CGC – are keeping up their various forms of action in support of their demands for salary increases in the sector and a stop to outsourcing and closures. Apart from strike action and demonstrations the unions are also using targeted power cuts to get their message across. An industry day of action on 19 May was followed by the four federations joining the national cross-sectoral demonstrations on 26 May. The unions (...)

Strikes and demonstrations continue in energy sector

Despite some progress in negotiations across the sector, unions are still mobilising their members in order to secure pay increases at sectoral level. A week of action is underway (11-15 May) with a major push planned for 12 May. Read more at > FNME-CGT (FR) And at FNEM-FO (FR)

Success over outsourcing and jobs but energy unions continue action over pay

The five union federations in the energy sector are continuing their action to secure open and proper negotiations over pay. The unions highlight the fact that senior managers in the sector have seen their pay increase by between 25% and 180% while workers are being offered a pay rise of 0.3%. Unions have demanded a pay increase of 5%. In the meantime they have secured some positive results in the eRDF and GrDF distribution companies with a commitment not to outsource repair and on-call (...)

Ver.di expresses concern over waste employers’ federation

There is a danger that the BDE waste employers’ federation will end its role in collective bargaining and become just an industry association. Ver.di says that the position of lead negotiator for the BDE has been vacant for several months and the current president of the organisation is from Alba, a company that doesn’t apply the industry agreement. The union also points out that more and more companies in the sector are leaving the industry agreement and it challenges the BDE to stand up for (...)

Energy workers get 2.6% plus lump sum

Employees of the REN and EDP energy companies are getting a 2.6% pay increase this year along with a €160 lump sum. The lump sum payment will go to those with at least six month’s service an with no unjustified periods of absence. Workers at REN will also have to have achieved at least level 3 on the company’s performance measurement scale. Inflation in Portugal fell to –0.4% in the year to March, according to the national statistics agency. Read more at > Sindel (...)

Energy unions agree to continue their collaboration

EPSU affiliates from six countries have agreed to maintain their collective bargaining network and meet two times a year to exchange information on collective bargaining policy. The group was initially brought together through a European Commission-funded project and has now met four times since January 2008, partly with assistance from the ETUI trade union education body. The unions from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands will meet next in October when they (...)

Energy sector negotiations prove difficult

No progress has been made after the third round of bargaining at the Thüga energy company where the employer is insisting on a two-hour increase to the working week. Ver.di wants a 5.6% pay increase just to pay for the increase in working time and has rejected the employer’s offer of 1.2% plus a EUR 500 lump sum. Meanwhile at AVEU ver.di and the employers have agreed to set up a working group to try to make progress on this year’s negotiations. The union has rejected proposals for an increase (...)

Energy negotiations get underway

Unions and employers have had the first exchanges in negotiations over the energy sector collective agreement. The current agreement was signed in 2007 and runs until 1 July 2009. ABVAKABO has made clear that it will negotiate a pay increase that takes account of the recent good performance of energy companies and will not restrict itself to pay guidelines set by central talks between employers, government and the union confederations. The energy sector employers have indicated that they (...)